Vista da Serra do Divisor, cadeia montanhosa que se divide pela fronteira Brasil-Peru (Foto: Thomas Muller)

Isolated indigenous peoples in Brazil and Peru: from fire to the spatial planning challenges

Translation: Patrícia Ribeiro de Carvalho

The second edition of the Boletim Povos Isolados na Amazônia brings reports on two major events in 2015. The first one was tragic and caused losses to many indigenous communities, devastating vast areas of the Amazon forest and Cerrado, destroying areas of use of several peoples and leaving even more cornered the isolated groups that live there. We are talking about the forest fires that have taken the indigenous lands complex in the state of Maranhão between September and December last year.

The second theme, despite representing an advance on the forests protection on the Peruvian side of the Serra do Divisor, border region with Brazil, has gaps that can bring insecurity for the region’s most vulnerable indigenous populations. It is the categorization of the then Zona Reservada Sierra del Divisor (Sierra del Divisor Reserved Zone) as a National Park. The main criticism of the indigenous movement in Peru is that the Park’s creation Decree haven’t considered two territories of isolated peoples over which overlaps the area of the new park.

Of the ten territories of isolated indigenous peoples in Peru – either already recognized reservations or proposals still in recognition – seven are located along the approximately 2,800 kilometers on the border with Brazil. Of these, 406 kilometers are direct border with Terra Indígena Vale do Javari in the western Amazon. This one, in its turn, is limitrophe to the Comunidad Nativa Matsés and the newly categorized Parque Nacional Sierra del Divisor (National Park Sierra del Divisor). This is the region that concentrates the largest population of isolated indigenous peoples in the world.

Although far from major centers and still considerably preserved, the region and the people who inhabit it – both those in permanent contact with society as isolated ones – suffer from harassment and pressure from loggers, drug traffickers and other activities such as oil exploration and mining. Added to this is the absence of control measures by the government agencies of both countries.

The fact that these peoples share the same regional context – and, in the case of Matsés, of being the same people separated by political boundaries – has made the Centro de Trabalho Indigenista (CTI), by means of its acting of more than a decade in the Vale do Javari (Javari Valley), to provoke a political articulation agenda and strengthening of the alliance between the Peruvian and Brazilian Matsés.

Hence, in 2009 was supported the creation of the first association of  Brazil’s Matsés people, the Organização Geral dos Mayuruna (OGM). That year was also held the First Binational Meeting Matsés, a forum of Matsés people from Brazil and Peru, coordinated by OGM and Comunidad Nativa Matsés (CNM). Since then five binational meetings were held counting with CTI’s support and advice.

It was in this agenda’s scope that were elaborated the various joint requests related to the recognition of isolated indigenous peoples’ territories in the region, particularly of the indigenous reserves Yavarí-Tapiche and Yavarí-Mirín.

Both thematics addressed in this edition will continue being the line-up of this Bulletin whereas they are actions that require continuous monitoring and accompaniment. The purpose is to maintain information transference related not only about the combat but monitoring and preventing forest fires, as well as about the recognition process of the isolated indigneous peoples’ territories in Peru. This theme, for its part, will continue to be the point of discussion at the Sixth Binational Meeting Matsés which will be held between April 5th and 7th 2016.


News related to Brazil-Peru border:

Nota técnica do CTI sobre a presença de isolados no alto Jaquirana
Nota do CTI sobre a atividade petroleira no sul da TI Vale do Javari
Lideranças Matsés voltam a repudiar exploração de petróleo em seu território
Carta Aberta dos Povos do Vale do Javari sobre a Ameaça de Projetos Petroleiros no Brasil e Peru
Matsés repudiam exploração de petróleo e gás em seu território durante a IV Reunião Binacional
Indígenas Matsés do Brasil e Peru se reúnem para traçar estratégias frente às ameaças em seu território
Comissão se reunirá para avaliar Reservas Indígenas para isolados no Peru
Empresa petroleira Pacific Rubiales Energy inicia levantamento sísmico em região com presença de isolados na fronteira Brasil-Peru
Atividade petroleira volta a ameaçar índios isolados no Vale do Javari
Carta Final I Binacional Matsés
Carta Final II Binacional Matsés
Carta Final III Binacional Matsés
Carta Final IV Binacional Matsés
Carta Final V Binacional Matsés

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